Washington Capitals Potential Draft Pick Profile: Brendan Brisson

NHL Draft, Washington Capitals (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NHL Draft, Washington Capitals (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The 2020 NHL Entry Draft takes place Tuesday, October 6th and the Washington Capitals will select 24th-overall.

Since the draft is just one sleep away, lots of websites are getting their mock drafts in now before it’s too late and they’re proven wrong. One such website is USA Today, as writer, Vincent C. Mercogliano, posted his first-round mock draft this morning. In his mock draft, he has the Washington Capitals selecting Brendan Brisson of the Chicago Steel in the United States Hockey League.

Brisson was born on October 22nd, 2001, in Manhattan Beach, California, which is a fairly unique background for an NHL prospect. He is the son of longtime NHL agent, Pat Brisson, so I think it is fair to say that he has a pretty fair grasp of how the professional game works (especially from a business standpoint).

Brisson played for the Shattuck St. Mary’s where, in his senior year, he posted 101 points in 55 games played. He then joined the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL for six games before joining the Chicago Steel.

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While playing for the Chicago Steel this past season, Brisson led the team to a dominating 41-7-1 record which was capped off with a league championship. He was also named the USHL’s Rookie of the Year after he recored 24 goals and 35 assists for 59 points in 45 games. Brisson has committed to playing for the University of Michigan for the upcoming season.

Scouts have praised Brisson’s hands and vision, especially on the power play. They also note that he is speedy, constantly moving and forces the opponents to make mistakes not with pure physicality, but relentless work and hockey IQ. However, scouts have also said that what Brisson has in skill and work ethic, he lacks in size and strength at 5’11 and 177lbs. One upside to this is that, at age 18 (turning 19 on October 22nd), size and strength are the two easiest things for him to improve upon because he is still developing and will get stronger.

Brisson is a natural centre who can play wing, but scouts believe he will become a full-time winger in the NHL. This is beneficial because the Capitals are lacking forward depth at the centre position beyond their current four centremen (with Connor McMichael on his way). However, if the Caps choose to put him on wing, that is also beneficial because then McMichael may just have a winger for the foreseeable future.

Based on these descriptions I’ve read about Brisson from The Hockey Writers and not from having actually watched him play, he sounds almost like a Brayden Point type. Point had all of these tools but was undervalued due to his size and strength and was stolen by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the third round. I am not saying Brisson has the upside and the potential of a Brayden Point, however I do think that judging him solely based on his size and strength isn’t a good idea. Often times, those players are the ones that make NHL scouts look the most foolish.

However, there are instances where a young player’s size has an impact. Just look at Jack Hughes of the New Jersey Devils. That is a player who, in my opinion, didn’t look NHL-ready when he was playing in the World Juniors. He was getting knocked around by every other team. But, since he was the first-overall draft pick, he was sort of thrust into the NHL when he wasn’t necessarily ready for that kind of game yet and he wasn’t able to meet expectations. His size and strength need to develop before he can become a more effective NHLer, and that’s something the Capitals would need to take into consideration with Brisson.

Then there’s the other argument that has become more compelling as of late with the Tampa Bay/Dallas Stars Cup Final that the Capitals should be drafting bigger guys who can be effective in a long playoff run. Although I don’t disagree with this sentiment by any means, it also means something to draft the skilled guys (like the Brayden Points) who benefit from having the big, hard-to-play-against players lower in the lineup. Not to mention, teams often get those players in later rounds, or through free agency and trades to bolster an already skilled team.

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It is tough to say where Brisson will land based on the varied scouting reports, but I don’t think this would be the Capitals’ worst option if they decided to choose the speedy and skilled forward.